California Bar Journal
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 1998
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


REGULARS

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Front Page - October 1998
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News
George calls court funding failure 'betrayal'
Court rejects rule to bare secrets
Chief justice, 3 associates seek retention from voters
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You Need to Know
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Opinion
Farewell to an independent bar
The last few gasps of a dues bill
A look toward the future
Getting leaner on our own
Justices and politics don't mix
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Letters to the Editor
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Legal Tech - Deconstructing computer leases
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New Products & Services
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MCLE Self-Study
Amending Irrevocable Trusts
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Discipline
Ethics Byte - Clients still have right to secrecy
8-year attorney, disciplined 11 times, is finally disbarred
Attorney Discipline
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Service Awards
Neiman receives bar's top honor for helping others
13 attorneys, 2 law firms cited for pro bono efforts
Foundation presents 32 scholarships to California law school students
LA County Bar wins national recognition
With shutdown, bar discipline faces paralysis
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By NANCY McCARTHY
Staff Writer
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The case of a River-side County bankruptcy attorney facing 50 discipline counts is in limbo, abated by the State Bar Court. A San Jose lawyer who prosecutors say deserves disbarment has only to take the professional responsibility examination and serve out a short suspension for his license to be reactivated.

The husband of an attorney who died suddenly has nowhere to turn for help in closing down her practice.

These are a few of the early returns on the virtual shutdown of the State Bar's discipline system.

Since the end of April, when the consumer complaint phone line was disconnected in anticipation of widespread layoffs, the bar has received 2,097 written complaints about attorneys. Not one has been investigated.

Another 2,800-plus investigations which were under way were halted. Of the nearly 800 matters filed before the State Bar Court, ready to be litigated, only 40 are proceeding to trial before the end of the year.

"The State Bar shutting down has left this huge void," says JoAnne Robbins, a former bar court judge who now defends attorneys facing discipline charges. "It's possible these cases could stay in suspended animation virtually forever."

Adds Arthur Margolis, another defense attorney who practices before the bar, "It's really a paralyzed system and the public is deprived of protection. It's a scandal that has not penetrated the consciousness of the press or the public in general."

The discipline system was the largest and most expensive oper-ation within the State Bar. The prosecutor's office employed 283 lawyers, investigators and support staff, and the State Bar

See WITH SHUTDOWN


No-nonsense lawyer makes VIPs out of troubled youths
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By NANCY McCARTHY
Staff Writer
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Thomas McCormick with his wife Stacy, son Connor and daughter Keely.When lawyer Thomas Mc-Cormick first met the parolee he was supposed to keep on the straight and narrow, the young man said he wanted to buy a gun.

"Go ahead," McCormick told the astonished youth. "Then you can shoot yourself in the foot."

An unorthodox start, but it marked the beginning of the turn-around of a young

See LAWYER MAKES VIPs


Marshall to lead beleagured bar
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Ray MarshallIn perhaps the most tumultuous period of State Bar history, Raymond C. Marshall of San Francisco will take over as the bar's new president this month, becoming the first bar chief from San Francisco in 13 years.

Marshall, a partner in McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, won the presidency over lawyers Samuel Jackson of Sacramento and Jeffrey Tidus of Los Angeles and public board member Dr. Dorothy Tucker, a Los Angeles psychologist. He will be sworn in by Chief

See MARSHALL ELECTED


Plug pulled on last-minute dues deal
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By NANCY McCARTHY
Staff Writer
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Efforts to reform and finance the State Bar collapsed in the final hours of the legislative session, leaving the organization practically insolvent until the year 2000.

Despite an agreement in principle five days earlier which would have created an appointed board of governors and forced other reforms, Assemblyman Robert Hertzberg's AB 1669 never came to a vote.

The Van Nuys Democrat declared the measure dead after an aide to Gov. Pete Wilson said he would not agree to a provision in the bill.

Disagreements between the two sides led to an 11th-hour rush to revive the measure and a round of angry finger-pointing, but the bottom line was no bill and no bar dues.

Bar President Marc Adelman of San Diego, whose entire administration was consumed with trips to Sacramento seeking support for the bar, pronounced himself "profoundly disappointed that 10 months of work

See DUES DEAL DIES